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July 27, 1963

Current Status of Nonproprietary Nomenclature for Drugs

Author Affiliations


Assistant Secretary, Council on Drugs, American Medical Association.

JAMA. 1963;185(4):294-297. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060040078026

ALTHOUGH THE PROBLEMS in selecting nonproprietary names for drugs have been discussed in several previous reports,1-7 it is apparent from the nature of inquiries received by the AMA-USP Nomenclature Committee that certain aspects of nonproprietary drug nomenclature are still in need of clarification. In addition, this is an appropriate time to present the Guiding Principles for Coining Nonproprietary Names for Drugs, which were drafted and recently completed by the Committee.

To understand some of the problems in this area, one should first be aware of the existence of two classes of nonproprietary names, the formally adopted and the informally adopted. This double classification has caused a great deal of confusion in nonproprietary drug nomenclature. The use of the names informally adopted by clinical investigators, research workers, or manufacturers in published reports before formal adoption of a name is the real point at issue. This practice has often resulted in a

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